Me and my suitcase
“Have you packed your suit-case?” was the oft-repeated question from concerned family members when they knew I had business trips out of Singapore
– On First class to places like London, Europe and America (more than 8 hours travel from Singapore with return trip only at the end of assignments). At first, I spent many hours thinking about proper seasonal attire for the workplace, for posh hotels stay-ins and on weekend shopping sprees/escapades, and how to squeeze them into my large suitcase. Over the years packing time was whittled down to two hours for these trips.
– On Business class (above 4 to 8 hours travel and home weekend fortnightly) to places like India and Asia Pacific, it took me slightly over one hour to pack my medium sized suitcase for a trip unless it involved Japan or South Korea where attire was more formal and seasonal for business meetings and dinners and I had to pack my big suitcase.
– On economy class (for trips less than four hours and home trips weekly or after shorter than one week assignments). it would take me less than one hour of packing the small hand-carry or over-nighters.
It took me less time to pack my suitcases for my return trips home unless I had been spend-thrift and fallen hopelessly into the temptations of the world and had to buy another suitcase or beg other team mates to load up their suitcases or hand-carries for me.
Once I carried an empty suitcase home from Kuala Lumpur forgetting I had not packed my suitcase before late check-out for that late Friday evening flight, wearied after a contentious, penultimate audit closing meeting. When I arrived at the same hotel bright and early on the next Monday morning, the friendly hotel reception staff advised that they had my dry-cleaned clothes hanging in the closet in my assigned hotel room and they had left a tray of chocolates with fresh strawberries on the desk. Was I shocked? It was standard procedure for my maid to unpack y bags and send my clothes for laundry or dry cleaning when I arrived home. She had thought that I had purposely left my clothes in Kuala Lumpur as I was returning the following week and did not advise me of my oversight. That being the final trip, I had to borrow a foldable bag from a Malaysian friend to carry the previous week’s laundered clothes home in addition to the one I had brought for the week.
There was a spate of air-crashes around the globe in the previous fortnight, and one day I distinctly remember that when I embarked the plane for Tokyo that morning, I reflected – if my plane goes down for whatever reason, I will have only my suitcase, briefcase and laptop with me. The very next automatic reflections were ” what will I have with me for the Rapture? What will I have with me when it comes time for me to cross my Jordan?”
It was to be a sobering period of reflection during that 8 hours flight, one of the turning points in my life.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
When it is time to leave this world, what will you say “Wait! please let me enjoy all I have accumulated for a little while longer” or “please give me some time for I have not made up my mind what to give up”.
Luke 12:15 And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Luke 12:16-20 And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; And he thought within himself saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul thou has much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall these things be, which thou has provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Psalm 49:16,17 Be thou not afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased. For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 And as he came forth of his mother’s womb naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.
I Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Matthew 24: 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 8:36-38 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Indeed are you ready to leave everything behind should He call?